In order for a will to be valid or legal in Ontario, certain formalities are required. A person must be at least 18 years of age to have a will. The will must be in writing and signed in front of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries or spouses of the beneficiaries. Wholly handwritten wills, also known as holograph wills, are also acceptable so long as they are signed. Lastly, there cannot be any portions of the will that are erased or deleted.
The Devil is in the Details …
Sounds simple enough, right? If you are above 18 years old and you live in Ontario, so as long as you have two people witness your signature who are not named in the will, you have a valid will. But what if you notice a spelling error after your will is signed and witnessed? If you choose to take out a staple and replace the page which has the error, you may have opened yourself up to having your will contested. What if you get married or divorced after you have signed your will? Is your will still valid? Have you appointed an executor and trustee or have you just decided who is to receive your property? Have you decided who is to receive your real estate and money but have not mentioned any of your other assets?
A lawyer will ensure that your will is properly drafted, and that all of your concerns are addressed. A lawyer will be able to discuss how to minimize the amount of money to be paid by your loved ones in probate fees upon your death. A lawyer will be able to provide suggestions in order to reduce the amount of taxes paid by your loved ones upon your death. These are the benefits of having a lawyer draft your will. The cost of having your will drafted by a lawyer during your lifetime will always be significantly less than the cost of going to court after your death.
It’s usually best to get advice from a lawyer. Contact us now if you need a lawyer to write a will.